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A selection of professional articles and videos on new tools, maintenance and repairs.

Tips for choosing the right welding machine

11.05 2022 09:17

Usually, all the recommendations in an online search, on manufacturers' websites, in sellers' online shops start with the question: “What metals are you welding?”.
It is a natural question and quite an important one; however, our modern welding machines are becoming increasingly versatile and, with the right accessories, are capable of welding almost any type of metal.

Therefore, other issues become essential when choosing welding machines:
1. Area of use and intensity?
You can use the equipment occasionally in the household, in the garage, or work intensively in continuous production and repair workshops.
2. Mobility?
Whether you frequently transport the machines to outdoor facilities or only work in workshops or garages.
3. Welding skills?
Whether you are a complete beginner, have practical welding experience or are a professional welder?
4. Other technical features?

According to the welding method and process, there are three most popular types of welding machine on the market. We will talk about all the features that will help you choose welding machines.

Electrode welding machines (MMA – Manual Metal Arc)

MMA machines are some of the most popular and have the following features:
• almost all metals can be welded by selecting the right coated electrodes for a particular metal. Excellent welding of mild and stainless steel; however, welding of aluminium with coated electrodes is not of good welding quality.
• Possibilities for welding thin and ultrathin metals are limited.
• Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
• Excellent mobility features. The machines are small in size and weight. No shielding gas is required, facilitating the transportation.
• Relatively inexpensive welding equipment, so there is no need for many accessories and protective welding gas cylinders.
• MMA machines are easy to use – suitable for both beginners and professionals. However, quality welding requires at least average welding skills.
• The welding process generates a lot of debris (electrode tips and slag from welds) and fumes.

Semi-automatic welding (MIG/MAG – Metal Inert Gas/Metal Active Gas).

Welding with MIG/MAG welding machines (semi-automatic) is currently the most popular and has the following features:
• all metals can be welded by selecting metal-specific accessories welding wire. Perfect welding of mild and stainless steel and also aluminium.
• Much better weldability of thin metals than with MMA machines.
• MIG/MAG welding is much more efficient and cleaner. The welding process generates no slag and much less smoke.
• Best suited for indoor use. Outdoor use is limited, as there is a risk of the shielding gas blowing away due to wind effects. When welding outdoors, it is necessary to use shelters, umbrellas or tents.
• Due to shielding gas cylinders, mobility is limited. Although MIG/MAG machines may be small in size and weight, they are heavier and larger than MMA machines due to the weight of the welding wire spools and the wire feed mechanism.
• More expensive welding machines than MMA machines, more accessories and the need for shielding gas.
• An excellent choice for both beginners and professionals.
– for beginners, as it is easily learnable and weldable
– for professionals due to a high-quality, rapid and most productive welding method.
• Modern semi-automatic inverter machines are, as a rule, universal and, with the selection of suitable accessories, can also weld with coated electrodes.

TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding

A less popular welding method, as it requires a high-qualified welder and is used mostly for specific welding tasks:
• with the right accessories and welding materials, almost any metal can be welded. Perfect welds are achievable not only for mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium but also for metals such as titanium, bronze, copper, etc.
• TIG can be used for welding ultrathin metals.
• TIG welding is a precise, neat and ultra-low-speed welding method, which is why it is not recommended for applications requiring high speed and high performance (especially when working with thick metals). The welding process generates no slag and much less smoke.
• Best suited for indoor use. Outdoor use is limited, as there is a risk of the shielding gas blowing away due to wind effects. When welding outdoors, it is necessary to use shelters, umbrellas or tents.
• Due to shielding gas cylinders, mobility is limited. TIG welding machines are relatively small in size and weight.
• It is the most investment-intensive machine, especially for welding aluminium (aluminium TIG AC/DC welding machines are up to twice as expensive as TIG DC mild steel and stainless steel welding machines). It also requires buying various accessories and additives, such as burner components, expensive inert gases (pure argon gas) or mixtures of inert gases (e.g., Ar + He).
• The TIG method makes the most accurate and high-quality welding but requires exceptionally high welding qualifications and a lot of practice. It is therefore not recommended for beginners.
• Modern TIG welding machines are, as a rule, universal and, with the selection of suitable accessories, can also weld with coated electrodes.

Other technical features?
It is often a question of the power of the machine, i.e., what the maximum amperage is that the machine is capable of welding.
In such a case, it is essential to pay attention to the intensity and volume of the work. More powerful three-phase machines are used in manufacturing, and single-phase equipment is sufficient for household works and light repairs.

You can buy all types and configurations of welding machines from the Stokker Tool Centre. We will also give you qualified advice on choosing the equipment that best suits your needs.

Find the correct welding machine from our selection by clicking on the links below:
MMA
MIG/MAG
TIG

Ask a specialist for advice

 

 

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